The classic and hellenistic turbomachine greek souvlaki

Well well well. First of all I want to express my gratitude to life and to the wise and vast universe for giving me the head, the will and the correct people around me to finally obtain a master degree in engineering and get one step closer of being an adult. #IhavenoideawhatImdoing. Secondly, how the fuck are you suppose to wrap up a 10 month adventure in one of the most exotic countries of the globe? May the turbomachinery and science help me then.

Between all this excitement you gotta ask yourself one question…-am I looking for a place to go and have crazy outdoors adventures? Amazing and magnificent archeological sites? Best food ever after the mexican? The beautiful agean blue sea color? Great spots for outdoors sex? Crazy people dancing and shouting opa? Do I feel lucky? Do you? Pppunk!?-. Greece ladies and gentlemen, is the answer to your problems.

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I spent the last 10 months in a country under “crisis”, studying under one of the highest levels of engineering of the world, eating delicious grilled octopus, souvlaki, pilafi, mussels and fried squids among others, drinking refreshing refreshments like ouzo, raki, tsipourou, rakomelo and mastixa, listening to emotional bouzouki, wandering around with the most beautiful women I’ve seen so far (cheers on Greece and your genes H!), travelling around places of the planet I never thought I would go to (cheers on #momondo), discovering ancient mythical greek temples, trying to pet every single street cat and dog I saw as I would scream “oh gatito!”, establishing friendships and bonds that I truly hope last long enough for me to have white hair and learning that life indeed is a journey where happiness and freedom exists. Oh yeah, a hell of a crisis as you can read.

What a ride. What a fucking awesome ride I must say, including the fact that today I know my DNA carries Greece too. #greekmexican #Manolios

Greece is world widely known because of the food like Tzatziki, the music with the Bouzouki, greeks shouting “Opa!” all the time, broken plates on the weddings, magical places/beaches/parties in Santorini or Mykonos and also for anal sex (#culturalknowledge). The truth is that Greece is absolutely way more than that so let me tell you my experience of this awesome country.

As I was on my way back to Azteca lands, Mexico, I was struggling quite a bit cuz I could not find a way to actually summarize an entire year of knowledge, adventures and emotions as the one just passed. But well, putting aside that time is a bitch and went by as fast as possible, I first want to explain something about the greeks; they are indeed probably the most similar culture to the latinoamericans, at least to mexicans as they love living life, eating well, easy money and power. Equally, very strong familiar/religious values, strong pride for their country and an amazing skill of finishing a freddo espresso in 5 hours as they complain about the new traffic lights, taxes and the government. Plus, they do walk veeery slow and are quite informal/relaxed with everything. Oh, and they don’t give an absolute fuck about parking. As said, very similar to mexicans.

 

It is true that greeks have a bit of a temper (it was funny because I didn’t understand shit and I would just smile whenever a greek was pissed at me, which made them more pissed) but to be fair, I have never been in a country with such high hospitality no matter if you were a foreigner, stranger or a drug lord faced mexican like me; they will offer you something to eat and a glass of Raki or Ouzo and ask you about your life and be genuinely interested in it. They will make you feel as if you were home and no less than that. Everything started with my former landlords, who kindly picked me up at the airport, invited me for dinner and would meet on a monthly basis just to chat up a bit and have some drinks, they are absolutely amazing people.

The magic in Greece is that no matter how hot or cold or difficult a situation is, you would listen to “halará” which means something like “chill out bro” and you would enjoy whatever you’re doing/eating/drinking. I must say I was fairly surprised by the scenery of the country as I thought it would be only cool because of the beaches and the unbelievable attractive women, but they have mountains and snow too, very convenient for snow sports and for long cool hikes. The other magic in Greece is that every 5.4 seconds you hear “pu ise re malaka!?” which means “where are you moda fucka?” and “PAME GAMOTO PAMEEEE” which means “let’s go for fuck’s sake, let’s go”. As said, magical.

Thessaloniki is located at the northern part of Greece and is the host of one of the best universities of the country which means a city full of students, so the average age of the city should go around 27-30 years old, so a lot of activities and epic parties to do in the northern greek lands. Feeling too adventurous and fit? How about a hike to the top of Mount Olympus and greet Zeus? (highest peak in Greece) Feeling like a monk and searching peace? what about a visit to the mythical mountains of Meteora? feeling romantic? how about a taverna night with amazing food and wine at the beach somewhere Chalkidiki or Kavala? Feeling eager to learn history? Visit the museums on Thessaloniki or go around to Pella where Alexander the Great was supposed to be born. Feeling like the last man of the universe? A night out with the Erasmus exchange youngsters or to meet greeks on the Ladadika area will never disappoint.

At the same time, the peloponese area (This is Sparta) as well as the obvious places like Athens, Mykonos, Santorini (one of the most beautiful sunsets you’ll ever see in your life) and the other 3000 and something islands, offer a fantastic collection of relaxing/adventurous activities to do. That’s the beauty of the country, you have the possibility of doing a zillion things despite how high or low your budget is, and fun is absolutely guaranteed.

Then Crete ladies and gentlemen it’s another bloody galaxy. I had the amazing luck of spending days there during Easter celebrations with a very close cretan friend. Cheers on that Mflow & Co. The tradition as in most of catholic countries is to not eat meat for some weeks until Yisus ascends to the skies and then it is celebrated by eating a complete and delicious roasted goat. All of it. Literally. Plus the incredible beach sceneries, undisputed hospitality of the Cretans the absolutely gorgeous cretan females and the alcoholic spirit called Raki or Rakomelo (+honey +cinnammon +hot +love).

From walking around bizantine temples and otoman architecture buildings to going up to the Parthenon and feel like Saint Seiya speaking to Athena (#SaoriSaaan). I had the chance of visiting about 10 islands in total, about 4999 remaining or more and they all gave me something different, like the most delicious Pistaccio ice cream I’ve ever had in my life.

This year I also had the chance of settle what it appears to be a long and solid friendship with a New Zealander girl and an Indian lad. Don’t know when I’ll see the indian, but I will visit the magical lands of New Zealand for 11 days and I’m pretty sure it will be just amazing to run in the same lands as Gandalf. Anyway, I also made a bunch of greek friends which unfortunately differs with my year in Sweden. I thought I made a couple of swede friends, but it was just my imagination as friends I did that year were from everywhere but Sweden. Anyhow, Greece was not the case, as I met smart, crazy, cool and incredibly beautiful ladies. And nice greek lads too. Hehe. People that truly taught me something, that gave me their time, a piece of a heart and that made me taking the flight to Mexico entirely full. That is exactly the way one should leave a country after so long no?

The truth is that it is not possible to tie up all the emotions experienced, but they shall remain in my head and in my heart for many many many years to come I’m sure.

As if this was not enough, after many many many emotional bumps and upside downs, just when you feel like you can do/give/have no more? life said – ha! sucker! – and then love knocked on my door. Again. My best friend says that I fall in love every two seconds and he’s actually not so far away from the truth, the difference is that I do get authentically amazed every two seconds, but love? that shit is way up high on another level. Yet, it seems that I reached that level again after many many many obstacles on the way in the most unexpected and unwanted way possible. That was a good one life, cheers. (Smiling from side to side thinking about a german lady somewhere in the world called H.)

 

Anyways. Greece was a random and unsteady phenomena that stroke me on a daily basis from feet to head. It knocked me out, brought me back to life, knocked me out again and then thrusted me right off to the skies so I could just fly and rumble. From seeing cats resting inside a “closed” shoe store to jump from a 15 m cliff in Matala beach, Crete; from feeling like a total ignorant and stupid incompetent pseudo engineer, to have the best thesis supervisor ever and recover my engineering confidence, from having no clue of what to do with my life to achieve successfully my master in engineering. From thinking that I would never play music again, to buy an ukulele and also play drums and sing in a very talented international band in a bloody awesome gig. From arriving sane, to finish happily insane.

For me, Greece is more than taking a fancy boat in Santorini, more than partying like a maniac in Crete, more than dancing like a beast in Thessaloniki. It is even more than finding a bloody mantis dancing in your ukulele, more than the beautiful greek ladies walking around the streets, more than all the delicious food you can eat in a tavern and more than fantastic beaches, mountains and the color of the sea.

Greece is something outside of this world.

Greece is home malaka.

Yamas!

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The THRUSTers

My beloved lectores, first of all, I missed you like a crazy wild naked man who enjoys being in the middle of the forest. My apologies for not typing anything during the last 3 months as I found myself going bloody nuts studying for (so far) the hardest 2 final exams I’ve ever done. There is no better feeling than going out of the last exam, look at the sky and listen to the voice of Ben Wallace screaming “LIBERTAAAD” (it sounds better in spanish sorry) in the head. A temporary study-free man. Hell yes.

But to business.

As some of you might already know, I am studying an engineering master program in turbomachinery and aeromechanics whose acronym is THRUST.

The NASA guys describe thrust as a mechanical force, such that the propulsion system is in physical contact with a working fluid in order to produce it. For instance, it is the force that moves an aircraft through the air as the engine does work, accelerates the gas, and thrust is generated in opposite direction from the accelerated gas, nowadays this is done with turbomachines. In other words, thrust is the force that makes you move forward and brake the fucking space time sound barrier in a plane so as to save the 8th dimension from Boromir and yes. Science.

The magic of the program (at least for me) is not the academics part itself. Yes, it is very interesting to learn a lot about turbomachinery and how you can generate such huge amount of power to provide electricity, thrust in an aircraft, power in a gas turbine, high compression-ratios to internal combustion engines, bla bla bla, and of course to benefit people and the world and feed the wallet of the bastards who run a business related with all these. But where is the magic then? The people. Yes. The people.

Since the beginning of my days in school, I have always been one of those guys who are among the top 3, who didn’t need to study more than a couple of hours for a “tough” test, who got asked by the others how to do this and that. I was always used to being the brainy egocentric prick guy who just would achieve a very good grade plus being popular enough to enjoy life and get wasted on a weekend basis. And for such a naive mind who had a bit of working aviation experience and was about to cross the atlantic for the 2nd time and start a master program, well…I thought “this will be hard, but not that hard” as I have thought for basically all the previous years.

Oh bloody hell was I mistaken.

The very first lecture we had, 5 minutes went by, and shit, my mind thought “what the actual fuck is this guy talking about”. Then I said to me to relax, it’s the 1st day, it’s a matter of reading the material and catch up on the rusty academical field. But then I realized that the other 10 who also study with me, actually understood most of what the professor said. Hollow and hopeless. That’s exactly how I felt.

You might think “you’re such an exaggerating nerd person ” but hey, despite my empire-state size ego, I have always being hard and demanding enough with myself when it comes to achieve what I want.

The months went by and time did not prove me wrong. I was NOT the smartest guy in the classroom. Nor in the top 3. Not even close. A huge life change game who made me re-evaluate the entire situation of what I was doing, why, where, with what people I was dealing with, and the golden questions: am I good enough for this? Am I really that smart ass I have always thought I was? I honestly felt I didn’t know who I was anymore and thus, didn’t know how to address this problem. I had to overcome it, I had to push the re-boot button and start from zero again. I had to re-define myself.

And then, as the months kept going by, the relationships and friendship with the people of the program increased in a very good way. I was learning from them. Instead of losing myself directly into an infinite singularity vortex, I admired these people, the way they studied, the way the focused, the way they even helped me to be better at what I was doing, to aim for a better result, for success. Everyday.

So now I will talk of each country of them as if I was speaking from them, not to judge, not to criticize, but to actually thank them for everything they did directly and indirectly that made me not only to jump high, but for the first time to feel that I was being thrusted forward by a huge power engine.

Ireland: The very first time I talked to him by whatsapp before arriving to Sweden, I instantly thought “what a fucking prick”. LOL. I was basically sure we wouldn’t get along the entire year we would be studying together. Yet again, I was so mistaken. A fucking smart ass person. The first time we went to a trip together was to Estonia in a fun hell drinking karaoke wasted cruise trip. And it was just brilliant. I spent a couple of days in Ireland with his family in December, an unforgettable trip to the arctic circle, an incredible mountain hiking weekend in Germany, plus many parties and aeroelasticity and turbomachinery problems. This person reminded me the very high importance of being a good person with everyone. One could be egocentric and would love to show off to others the smartness, but that is not a reason to make less of the others, nor to walk around threatening people and miss-trusting as if everyone is the enemy, as I did. I lived shit high adrenaline moments while hiking and exploring with this guy, which expanded a lot my vision of life. Life is to enjoy and to live, nothing less. A chronicle of our rise to power brother!!

New Zealand: My upcoming roommate in the 2nd year greek adventure. I certainly didn’t have the chance of knowing deeply this person, but I can say that there is no one I know who is nicer with people. I am a very optimistic and smiley person, but New Zealand? She always tried to put the good chick even when going through very very very sad shit. Smart as hell, yet very relaxed and confident somehow that life would just provide. A person who would help me to solve an equation, a life problem or just listen or read my shit issues gladly. Someone who has a looot to give and wouldn’t care of taking anything from you. Also, adventurous and crazy in such a way that with a broken ankle injury, would go and hike into Norway and the  swedish arctic circle because…well…because it just sounds bloody amazing. Can’t wait to climb the olympus together.

Spain: Oh boy this will be hard. I will be talking in plural now. One of them is I would say the smartest person I’ve ever met in my life. The most emotionally intense and with such a temper as well. Easy to get along with, very difficult to maintain it in that way. Ups? Our ways of looking at life and of course the previous experiences I think made us to be somewhat a bit distant from each other after certain point of the year. Nevertheless, a person who would help you literally as much as it can get and ensure that you’re doing ok. Someone who would listen and hug you whenever you need. Different frequencies, but we had crazy and very interesting moments didn’t we?

The other one is also one of the most unexpectedly fucking smart shit persons I know. I say this only because of the background we have in terms of our academic careers. He is just one of the most determined persons I know; if he wants it, he will do everything he can to get it, no matter what. He knows how to perfectly separate what is important and what is not. The biggest “Real Madrid” fan I know. The biggest defender of Spain itself I know. “Toca pelear chaval”. I will never forget him saying those words the day we wrote the advanced finite element final after he got freaking hammered the day before because his football team won the Champions League. And he bloody passed. Trips, parties, homework and aerodynamics suffering. I will always be thankful for this friendship and hope he learns the proper and correct spanish (mexican of course). Te veo en la graduación hermano, rómpela siempre!

Germany/Russia: This person is just amazing. It just staggered me everyday how smart he is. The way he addresses any problem, the way he focuses, the way he would study for a test and the way he would drink vodka in one night. Someone who I’m sure will really make a big difference in terms of engineering and technology research, I’m almost sure I will be asking him for a job at some point of my life. I remember being intimidated when asking him a question of the homework just because I didn’t want him to think I was stupid. A person who really cares for the ones closer to him. Delicious russian food, trips and freaking amazing parties in Germany and in Sweden are just a tiny part of the shared memories. Thank you for showing me the kindness and love brother, I do not wish you luck because you don’t need it at all. Na zdorovie tovarishch, spasibo za vse!!

Pakistan: This guy was like the good and nice but not crazy uncle of the family. A very very very smart person who would gladly help you and ensure that you freaking understand every single detail of what he tries to explain. Like the perfect professor. I really enjoyed that he was always laughing and singing pakistani songs. It put me in a very good mood. Deadly moves while playing table tennis. A legend. His wife cooks the best pakistani food I’ve ever tasted, plus, a tupperware of 1.5 L with pakistani food was given to me just because they enjoyed that I liked it. I certainly look forward to share more cool moments with you my friend. Opa!

India: The biggest troop of the group. The curry bringers. The indian beatles. It is actually somewhat funny and weird how indians behave. Most of the indians (if you have had the chance of knowing indians) are actually very calmed and even introverted. They would smile, they would talk with you and smile but they would almost never go out to the parties or clubs or whatever. It’s not that common. Equally, a common indian would really smell like curry all around. But these lads wouldn’t at all (which for me was just perfect). So when (at least 1 of them) you see an indian trying to learn salsa with 5 beers and half up the head and saying “this is awesome”, well, it’s just pure magic. I certainly always had a very decent and nice relationship with these lads. The food they brought to school was always fantastic. One of them drunk crazy mother fucker will be actually my roommate too. All these guys are really smart too and have a big heart. I do wish them all the best to the different destinations they go.

Mexico: The truth is that I did not write a blog about this earlier because I really didn’t feel I quite belong to the group in terms of, I’m just not smart enough; so I really told me that I had to face this challenge and prove them and specially prove myself that I’m capable of this stuff, that there is a 200,000 rpm running squirrel in my head that can actually make me be smart enough to say that I am indeed a THRUSTer. And this time, time proved me right. After finishing the 1st year with a lot of struggle and studying the entire summer to do these last 2 fucking hard as shit final exams and feel that thing that makes you say “You fucking did it” it’s just priceless. But I certainly wasn’t able to do this alone; at some point I even thought of quitting but my family and closer friends were always supporting me from father Mexico, but the fact that the ones I consider the closer ones within the THRUSTers, would say to me “dude you’re not stupid, if you quit you will regret it, you can do this and you will do this because you’re a smart guy”, damn…I do think that all that is, what really brought me to the main message I want to give with this post:

In moments when you feel you cannot do it, in those times when you think you’re done, in those eternal hours when it looks like nothing could be worse for you?…Believe in yourself; look yourself into the mirror, right into the eye, and believe. Trust in yourself. Work hard, do, BUT REALLY, do what you know it’s required to do so as to achieve your goals. It will be hard, sometimes painful and exhausting. It will take more than everything you got, but do NOT give up and LISTEN to the people close to you. Sometimes you might think you’re alone, but you’re not. And then ask yourself: What the fuck are you waiting for? don’t be lame and common and go and grab accomplish what you want. Do NOT let anyone nor anything to stop you.

Thank you my dear THRUSTers for teaching me, for supporting me, for standing me, for being there, you know I wish you all love and good vibes directly from my heart. I’ve never felt so confident of what I can do, of who I am, of what I need to do to be better, but I know there is a lot to be done. I just hope that someday I can re-pay you all you did for me and also to be able of inspiring people around me and share everything I’ve learned from you.

De corazón, muchas gracias a todos!!

“If you live long enough, you’ll make mistakes. But if you learn from them, you’ll be a better person. It’s how you handle adversity, not how it affects you. The main thing is never quit, never quit, never quit”

William J. Clinton